Why I built notanymore.net – an ontological exploration

I started the journey that became notanymore.net when I moved to Scotland in an attempt to try and challenge my paradigm to change my perspective. This was a turbulent time in my life trying to discover my purpose and reason for being, getting away from familiarity, which I felt was holding me back. Not only was turbulence being felt in my little ecosystem but also in a macro global context. The world we live in has shifted significantly over the last decade from one of perceived ‘plenty’ and the success of the ‘Western way’ to one of… Click here to read more.

Analysis of Flannery’s ‘Now or Never’ Using Future’s Tools

This was a lot of fun to write and quite challenging. It’s an analysis of Tim Flannery’s 2008 thesis ‘Now or Never’ which you can find here. I find the futures field extremely interesting, challenging and confronting however due to the idea of no one knowing or owning the future(s) sometimes practitioners can get a little lost in their own seriousness. The challenge with this seriousness is it can create a polarity which I believe defeats the purpose of the field, creating antagonism rather than openness and diversity of thought. I do admit that my opinion could be influenced by a small sample of experience where I experimented with the work I delivered finding when I wrote what I knew the audience wanted to hear I was well received, however when I challenged conventional thought (ironically what Flannery is trying to do) I was rejected. Anyway enjoy the read and do read Flannery’s thesis first as it will better inform you on a debate to which we all have an important role.

Introduction
Flannery’s (2008) thesis is divided into eight sections providing a useful framework for analysis.  The sections are outlined in ‘Now or Never’ synopsis (table 1) illustrating thematic discourse.  Subjects of detail will be analysed however a holistic (Nisbett et al. 2001) approach will be attempted in order that differences of opinion on minutiae will be neutralised.  This will provide a basis through which judgement will be made as to the practicality of Flannery’s (2008) concepts, ideas, beliefs and futures.

‘Now or Never’ Synopsis

In the year 4 billion
Outlines issues faced by humanity through exceeding Earths bio-capacity and humanity’s place in the Gaian (Lovelock 2006) system.  Two questions underpin his thesis; “What is our purpose as a species? And how does the earth work” (Flannery 2008, p 3)?  Through Judeo-Christian ethic, Flannery (2008) posits humanity is poised, through a deep understanding of Earth’s regulatory system, to become Earth’s consciousness/brain.

The climate problem
Global population and the curbing of growth are acknowledged as long-term goals however the immediate crisis of climate change is identified.  To address this issue, Flannery (2008) divides the Earth into its systematic parts (Meadows 2008) of crust, air and water.  In this way he explains the cycle of carbon and its (and humanity’s additional) impact on the planet.

A new dark age?
In using Lovelock’s (2006) theory of Gaia, Flannery (2008) now takes a diametrically opposed stance to the thesis of humanity’s lack of foresight and ability to change.  Even though the climate data has proven to be underestimated and black swans (Taleb 2008) not anticipated, Flannery (2008) believes that humanity still has a few years before the tipping point of no return.  He has faith in humanity’s ability to invent new technology to save itself from Lovelock’s (2006) dire future.

The coal conundrum
Flannery (2008) delves deeper into humanity’s reliance on carbon energy sources by analysing the science, finding that data and scenarios are grossly underestimated.  He posits that the industry and government needs to take a leadership stance but the vision for change is lacking.  Clean coal technological solutions such as CO2 geological storage are suggested; acknowledging coal energy sources are a global reality that cannot easily be removed.

Geothermia
Flannery (2008) now moves into solution context.  His belief is that Australia is well positioned to lead the required change by developing clean coal and geothermal power.  He develops a future where carbon neutral cities emerge around geothermal energy sources and justifies his assertion through technological developments in Iceland, UAE and Denmark.  In these situations vision and leadership provides economic and social benefit.

Trees for security
In this approach Flannery (2008) returns to the issue of preserving and developing carbon sinks.  He acknowledges that forests play a role in stabilising climate and that a majority of the world’s poor partake in unsustainable practices.  The proposed solution is an auction based economic system creating financial trading to persuade unsustainable practices to be changed.  This system allows for underprivileged societies to enter the first rung of global prosperity.

Revolution in the feedlot
The issue of production and consumption is tackled and its impact on carbon production.  Flannery (2008) offers practical solutions in pyrolysis and holistic farming practices whilst discussing their adoption barriers.  The notion of sustainable diets and a labelling system is introduced to advertise carbon miles as a way of allowing the consumer to decide value.

The age of sustainability
Flannery (2008) introduces the last section with a pessimistic assessment that humanity could pass the point of no-return and now the issue is impact minimisation rather than avoidance.  The question has turned to situations of causality through understanding impacts of teleological decision-making.  This is a reality where social Darwinism has no place due to the acknowledgement that win/lose scenarios result in loss for all.  To conclude Flannery (2008, p 63-64) chooses to remind the reader that evolutionary social change has previously occurred and that society has an opportunity, which ungarnered will mean that “all of our species’ great triumphs, all of our efforts, will have been for naught.”

Balance of argument
On the surface, the weight of Flannery’s (2008) argument is posed in a dialectical methodology as problem and solution, theory and practicality.  The beginning of the text is heavily problem oriented to hook the reader into understanding the gravity of the situation and the individual’s role within the holistic system (Meadows 2008 ; Nisbett et al. 2001).  Throughout the progression of Flannery’s argument the dialectical balance sways to practicality and solutions.  However this superficial analysis doesn’t consider the ontological, phenomenological and teleological messages that reside in the text.  To understand these constructs, more rigorous analysis is required and is presented in the following sections.

Table 1: Now or Never Themes

In the year 4 billion The climate problem A new dark age? The coal conundrum Geothermia Trees for security Revolution in the feedlot The age of sustainability
Exceeded Earth’s biocapacity Limit population growth to 9 billion Lovelock’s (2006) vision of an apocalyptic future resulting from a lack of foresight, wisdom and political energy Carbon emissions need to be drastically reduced Brings the challenge down to a domestic level in attempt to discuss Australia’s leadership potential Turns to flora as carbon sinks particularly the forest of the equator Acknowledgement that the focus will now turn to the nexus between carbon sequestration and food production In the next 2 or 3 decades Flannery’s (2008) opinion is the point of no return will be exceeded
Live sustainably Even climate skeptics now admit it’s real The system is in a vicious circle of positive feedback Point of no return is less than 20 – 40 years away Suggests giving away intellectual property in clean coal tech’ to developing countries whose economies thrive on coal Humankind has transformed these forests into farms, cities and useless grassland over 100 years Focus on pyrolysis (i.e. heating biological matter in the absence of oxygen) to produce charcoal which can be reused to re-fertilize soil Drastic strategies are considered (i.e. pumping sulphur dioxide) into the atmosphere to cool climate
Strong Judeo-Christian influence but admission that his ideas are in opposition Climate science has linked humanity to global warming Scientists predictions using upper and lower level projections are at upper levels IPPCC projections assume reductions will happen… hence why their projects are low Clean coal and geothermal energy should become the backbone of Australia’s new energy economy Forests capture and release carbon in effect they are the worlds lungs.  Cutting or burning them down quickens the release of carbon By product of oil or gas can be reused to power the farm.  All of this slows the carbon cycle. Causal teleological argument of making trade offs between worst case scenarios
A full look at living sustainably is beyond the scope of the paper Systematic approach: Earths organs – crust, air, water Polar ice caps melting, not reflecting suns energy therefore contributing to warming Emissions are increasing and efficiency not occurring Carbon trading scheme is required Government involvement fails to establish the need for change at the grass roots level Hasn’t been adopted because of slow moving cultural acceptance, predominance of family businesses (i.e. that’s the way dad and grandpa did it) and its expense. Sacrifice now so that future will benefit – extend the 8th commandment to future generations
What is our purpose as a species? Crust provides coal, oil, natural gas and limestone, when burnt releases carbon Models have not been able to replicate the changes…flying blind Global energy sources need to change Government and industry are required to take the long view Suggests a new economic carbon sequestration model which puts socially and environmentally conscious capital holders with poor farmers to buy climate security Holistic farm management versus common farming practices Social Darwinism is not sustainable i.e. everyone will lose
How does the earth work? Water covering 71% of planet draws carbon from atmosphere very slow process WWF no longer trying to protect the arctic… its too late Humankind has faced adversity before (i.e. WW2) and developed astonishing technological breakthroughs Offers solutions and a perceived future around carbon neutral cities built around geothermal power sources This process will educate the farmers in sustainable practices as well as bring them up to a better life (i.e. by distributing wealth for global carbon security) Holistic farm management has an capped limitation (i.e. not scalable and not subject to Taylors (1911) theories of scientific management) Pulling minerals out of the earth is like a genie in a bottle that cannot be returned
Personal search for meaning To much carbon produces carbonic acid damaging life including carbon sequesters including algae Other pollutants are masking the effects of warming (i.e. sulphur dioxide) Developing countries will not change their coal use Australia is lacking at adding value to its mineral resources   Topic of meat eating is raised and difference between high intensity production versus holistic farming drawn Australia has become expert at mine-site remediation. Now attention must focus further afield
Earth was not made for us, we were made for Earth Atmosphere is the smallest organ (aerial ocean) ¾’s of the warming effect will be felt in the next 250 years Leadership and vision at an industrial and government level is lacking and the system of ownership and responsibility is complex… Australia’s attempt at leadership is too little Examples of vision and change in Iceland, UAE and Denmark   Sustainabilitarian diet (i.e. eat what is in season or available within a close geographic area) Humanity is part of Gaia not apart.  Once recognized it will drive political, economic and social agendas
Humanity is part of the Gaian system, not apart We notice pollution in the air but don’t in the sea because of relative size The tipping point has past but humanity has not yet reached the point of no return… we still have time Clean coal technology provides some short term answers New energy sources provide opportunities never envisaged (i.e. Danish excess wind power for electric cars)   Labeling system to advertise the carbon miles to develop a choice system that allows society to make value choice Great change is required as humanity has never lived sustainability
Zero impact is delusional Shuffling of matter between the three organs is at the heart of the problem Make full use of the existing tools and invent new ones to de-pollute and avoid Lovelock’s (2006) scenario The problem needs to be viewed in stages with government leadership required       Humankind has socially evolved eradicating social injustices and technological advancements (i.e. faith in human kinds ability)
History of life = increasing complexity and efficiency Carbon imbalance of our own making           Failure results in irrelevance of all of humankinds achievements
Humanity is poised to become Gaia’s brain to assist in regulation by becoming Gaia’s consciousness              
Search for sustainability is an uncertain experiment              

Source: Adapted from Flannery (2008)

Integral Analysis
An analysis of the text will be attempted in the style of Rowe (2005) to visualise which areas of Wilber’s (2001) quadrant have been addressed.  It’s posited that this will assist the analytical process providing “structure and rigour” (Rowe 2005).  Each section is colour coded providing clarity at an individual systematic including holistic level (Meadows 2008 ; Nisbett et al. 2001).  It should be noted the results are based on subjective interpretation not objective/quantitative methodologies.

Figure 1: Four Quadrants Now or Never Graphical Representation

Source: Adapted from Wilber (2001) and Rowe (2005)

Flannery (2008) posits humanity’s role is to act as the Gaian brain.  This predicates an evolutionary process of thinking at higher orders than purely cognitive neocortex thought (MedicineNet 2003).  By stating humanity’s position in this way the ontological and philosophical question of being and meaning is posed in practical language (UL).  What is humanity’s purpose (UL, UR)?  What structures need to be built to fulfil that purpose (LR)?  What barriers to change exist (UR, LR, LL)? How can humanity agree and share the planet and its resources (LL, LR)? What is my and our purpose in the grand scheme of life on earth (UL, UR, LL, LR)?  Although it might be found that the devil lies in the detail and not every chapter reaches higher orders within the quadrants, taking this approach wouldn’t do justice to Flannery’s (2008) overall intention.  Subsequently, it stands to reason that the text would start and end at higher spiral, philosophical, ontological, phenomenological and temporal orders.  This follows a logical and linear process of alerting the reader of his intentions, in the middle provide practical examples of alternate futures whilst re-enforcing his intentions and the requirement for change at the conclusion.

Spiral Dynamics (UL Quadrant)
In an attempt to illustrate the highest level of consciousness Flannery (2008) communicates, spiral dynamics (Beck & Cowan 1996) has been utilised (figure 2).  Each chapter is colour-coded and plotted to represent its highest tier therefore highlighting inclusion of lower tiers (Beck & Cowan 1996).  Justification and examples are provided in each transpersonal wave (Wilber 2001) in the following sections.  Lower tiers not identified won’t be analysed due to theory of inclusion.  Chapters are interpreted as parts rather than as a whole separating overall intent from merit of each argument.

Figure 2: Now or Never Tiers of Spiral Dynamics Consciousness

Source: Adapted from Wilber (2001) and Beck and Cowan (1996)

Blue/Orange
The rationale for including ‘Trees for Security’ at this lowest overall tier, is Flannery’s (2008) use of a system of economy, strategy, and commerce creating a virtual marketplace where carbon security is traded.  It’s also due to the acknowledgement of missing cogent argument particularly in the case of economics (elaborated in further sections).  By creating this system Flannery unwittingly advocates a society where rules and boundaries appear for future reward so that poorer communities become self-sufficient and materialistic (Beck & Cowan 1996 ; Hayward 2011).

Orange
‘Revolution in the Feedlot’ is an example of providing the reader with alternatives proving other possibilities than accepted paradigms.  The intention is to manipulate via stating a main point, and providing validation/evidence in four areas; pyrolysis, holistic farming, sustainabilitarian diet and carbon labelling.  This is pure strategic argument illustrating that technology and wisdom can solve the problem (Beck & Cowan 1996 ; Hayward 2011).  Flannery (2008) fails to explain how predominant management/efficient manufacture theories such as Taylorism (1911) might (not) work.  This missed opportunity allows his economics exploration to be questioned.

Orange/Green
‘The Coal Conundrum’ and ‘Geothermia’ state the use of coal, particularly in China, whilst acknowledging opposition to helping the opposition through carbon transfers is an unavoidable reality.  However this is where Flannery’s (2008) economic argument becomes paradoxical.  He advocates giving away clean coal technology (which has a cost and ongoing economic value) whilst also promoting Australia’s leadership position to develop new technology in order to economically benefit.  Concurrently, advocating the building of cities based around 75-year output energy sources is also economically questionable.  Although his intentions are noble highlighting an Islamic ‘Blue’ undemocratic non-pluralist country such as UAE also draws criticism[1].

Green
A ‘New Dark Age’ is manipulative in trying to illustrate Lovelock’s (2006) and Flannery’s (2008) different futures.  It’s intention is to cause the reader to question the rationality of the climate data, provide an abhorrent future context so that sacrifices are made now for the greater good (Beck & Cowan 1996 ; Hayward 2011).  By alerting the reader there’s still time before reaching the point of no return the reader is able to consider their actions and future in the wider context.

Yellow
Although largely problem and ‘matter of fact’ oriented ‘The Climate Problem’ follows the logic of humanities integral part of the world and its system (Beck & Cowan 1996 ; Hayward 2011 ; Wilber 2001).

Yellow/Turquoise
It’s fitting the first and last chapter of Flannery’s (2008) book reach the highest spiral discovered in analysis.  This indicates that alerting the reader to his own personal journey of discovery, whilst linking it to humanity’s purpose in the Gaian system acting as the brain and admitting that it’s an uncertain future/experiment provides space for debate/dialogue.  This touches the boundaries of holism through searching and communicating guiding principles within life and self (Beck & Cowan 1996 ; Hayward 2011 ; Wilber 2001).  For this reason the text as a whole can be considered at this and inclusive of lower hierarchies (Beck & Cowan 1996).

Thought Methodologies
At surface value one might be tempted to pigeonhole Flannery’s (2008) thesis as only Platonic thought (Bok 2011) in that a logical either/or argument has been developed that any rationale minded individual can assimilate.  This could be indicative of the difference between a warning system and solutions, however one must question whether this is the sole purpose or are there deeper levels of thought at play?  It should be noted that throughout the text, systemic thought (Meadows 2008) is utilised to define humanity’s purpose in a system at physical and metaphysical contexts and how change influences humanity’s relationship within the system.  This process enables the possibility of dialectic thought (Bok 2011) to occur of and/also.  For this reason it’s possible to assert that oceanic thought of “not-only-but-also” (Bok 2011) has been utilised through a circular process of beginning with one concept (i.e. humanity’s purpose in a wider system), exploring possibilities to build the discussion and then finally returning to the original concept.  By focusing at a logical either/or level dismisses the possibilities to engage in a wider discussion that is presently needed and is why the likes of Abbott (2011) have derailed the very dialogue and requirement for change Flannery (2008) elicits.

Change
Wilber (2001, p 6-13) illustrates that just under 90% of the global population[2] hasn’t exceeded the orange tier of consciousness yet they hold 86% of the power.  This is further validated by cognitive psychologists, Kegan and Lashkow Lahey’s (2009) finding that < 1% achieves the tier of self-transforming mind (figure 3 and appendix A).  Their work follows Heifetz’s (2009) theories of adaptive change, acknowledging that response utilising cognitive mental maps and technical know-how rarely solves unique sociological adaptive challenges (Kegan & Laskow Lahey 2009).

Figure 3: Tiers of Adult Mental Complexity

Source: Kegan & Laskow Lahey (2009, L 641)

Flannery’s (2008) contribution to society’s need to rise above cognitive ‘what am I /we aware of’ (Bok 2011) consciousness asks the reader to challenge their values, assumptions, beliefs and expectations (Clawson 2006) on humanity’s place on Earth, including questioning Abrahamic theological constructs of Earth is ours rather we are Earth’s (Flannery 2008).  By challenging the reader, Flannery (2008) enables the possibility of the aforementioned 90% of the world or the socialised or self authoring minded people to question their ALPHA realities moving them to GAMMA states with the possibility for DELTA transformation (Beck & Cowan 1996) (figure 4).

Figure 4: The Sequences of Values Change in Spiral Dynamics

Source: Hayward (2011)

Practicality – Other Futures Theoretical Models
Flannery’s (2008) thesis could be categorized as emancipatory (Slaughter 1999 ; Voros 2011a) due to its intention to educate and catalyse action at a societal level.  For this reason it would seem safe to assume that the depth of thinking is problem-oriented.  However this interpretation is incorrect due to Flannery’s (2008) conception of ontological being, philosophical meaning and purpose to influence worldviews through epistemological means (Slaughter 1999 ; Voros 2011a).  Subsequently, it’s logical to posit that the breadth is equivalent to spurring a civilisational futures movement (Slaughter 2005) through requirement for action.  Henceforth it’s suggested the thesis is somewhat critical through analysing the problems to pose different futures but also could be anticipatory action (Inayatullah 2005 ; Voros 2011a) learning due to Flannery’s (2008, p 8 ) citation that humanity’s “search for sustainability is thus an uncertain experiment, which must inevitably see setbacks and failures.”

Flannery’s (2008) intention is to highlight the weight of the past through exploring the barriers to change by illustrating the push of the present (i.e. phenomena and situations that have defied accepted paradigms) by constantly pulling positive and negative images of the future (Inayatullah 2003).  This helps the reader interpret difficult territory whilst being able to keep an open mind.

What’s missing?
It must be admitted that this is where the ‘detail devil’ raises its head but there’s a need to highlight the issues so fruitful discourse can continue rather than final judgement occur.  Flannery’s (2008) hypothetical Geothermia has previously been questioned however analysis brought forward to present day indicates, Geodynamics is still nine years away from commercial operation with a share price that has lost 90% of its value (Geodynamics 2011a, 2011b).  The reality is that Flannery (2008) use of economics isn’t cogent, not questioning the system of economics to which humanity is beholden.  This lack or exploration leads him to contradict himself continuously whilst being ignorant of the prominent model of production in Taylorism (1911) to quickly generate economies of scale and swifter return on investment.  He discusses the need to give away intellectual property, which has an economic value but further on discusses situations where being an innovative leader brings, economic benefit.  Precedence would dictate that all intellectual property should be given away and possibly owned by the state/planet in a Marxist future (Marx 1995)?

Figure 5: Cooper Basin Development Plan, Flannery’s ‘Geothermia’

Source: (Geodynamics 2011b)

Figure 6: Geodynamics Share Price

Source: (Geodynamics 2011a)

Furthermore it’s interesting that Flannery chooses to capitalise the word Earth in an attempt to deify the planet.  This is inline with many religious concepts but in opposition to the three Abrahamic religions (i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam).  If he were to be more explicit on these fronts, individuals who might be at lower orders of consciousness might not react in an adversarial way.

It seems the issues that Flannery (2008) outlines can be fixed by either cultural/social or technological change.  He opts for technological change due to an overt optimism that humankind has the collective knowhow to extricate itself from dire situations.  An example of such, and in opposition to Lovelock’s (2006) premise that humanity is destined for doom, Flannery (2008) posits, “this is not to say that humanity will fail.  Indeed, at moments of crisis, such as during the Second World War, astonishing breakthroughs in technology and manufacturing occurred.  The problem is that, so far, humanity has failed to see the need for urgency” (Flannery 2008, p 27).  This proclamation defines that his communication of the needed process for change through uncertain experiment (Flannery 2008) requires continued focus on the internal nature of humanity to convince the masses who would only see this discourse at a problem solution level.

Conclusion
Flannery’s (2008) thesis now dissected utilising futures tools may seem like it’s flawed.  However a different view is advocated.  This different view should consider that Flannery’s (2008) aim is to educate and create necessary debate in order for the collective of humankinds ability to generate solutions.  One couldn’t fault him on a failure of nerve or imagination (Clarke 1999 cited by Voros 2011b)

It’s been found that Flannery has taken a teleological rather than a deontological approach to try and cater for a wider audience without ‘scaring them off.’  Subsequently, it’s ironic that judgement must be made as to the suitability of Flannery’s (2008) text.  This indicates a preference for Platonic thinking when in the view of the author who has analysed and reviewed Flannery’s (2008) work, why can’t it just be (Bok 2011)?  If that were the case, platforms and gaps in the work could be identified in order that productive process of thought (Bok 2011) (i.e. other than right or wrong) and building on the discourse can occur.  If this were the case and intended aim then the current amplified issues to which Flannery (2008) attests might be minimised.

List of References
Beck, DE & Cowan, CC 1996, Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change [Kindle Edition], Blackwell Publishing, Malden, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

Bok, B 2011, Lecture 5: ‘Know Thyself’: Systems thinking, HBF540 Knowledge Base of Future Studies, Swinburne University of Technology, 29 March 2011.

CIA 2011, World Factbook: United Arab Emirates, viewed 4 April 2011, <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ae.html>.

Clawson, JG 2006, Level Three Leadership: getting below the surface, 4th edn., Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Flannery, T 2008, Now or Never: A Sustainable Future for Australia?, Quarterly Essay 31. Black Inc (online).

Fordham, B & Abbott, T 2011, Tony Abbott interview with Ben Fordham, Radio 2GB – Julia Gillard’s carbon tax, viewed 29 March 2011, <http://www.liberal.org.au/Latest-News/2011/02/25/Interview-with-Ben-Fordham.aspx>.

Geodynamics 2011a, Geodynamics Limited Share Price Information, viewed 4 April 2011, <http://www.geodynamics.com.au/IRM/content/shareholder_sharepriceinfo.html>.

Geodynamics 2011b, Progress to Date, viewed 4 April 2011, <http://www.geodynamics.com.au/IRM/content/about_progresstodate.html>.

Hayward, P 2011, Clare Graves – Levels of Existence Theory [Lectopia Recording], viewed 15 March 2011, <http://media.swinburne.edu.au/su94heeb/afi/hsf601/PHayward20050307-01_BBand_files/fdeflt.htm>.

Heifetz, R, Grashow, A & Linksy, M 2009, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership [Kindle Edition], Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

Inayatullah, S 2003, ‘Teaching Future Studies’, Journal Of Future Studies, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 35-40,

Inayatullah, S 2004, Five Futures for Muslims, viewed 5 April 2011, <http://www.metafuture.org/Articles/Five%20Futures%20for%20Muslims.pdf>.

Inayatullah, S 2005, ‘Methods and Epistemologies in Futures Studies’, in RA Slaughter, S Inayatullah and J Ramos (eds), The knowledge base of future studies,  5 vols, CD-ROM, Professional edn, Foresight International.

Kegan, R & Laskow Lahey, L 2009, Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization (Leadership for the Common Good) [Kindle Edition], 1 edn., Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

Lovelock, J 2006, The Revenge of Gaia [Kindle Edition], Penguin Books, London, England, Amazon Digital Services.

Marx, K 1995, Capital, Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Meadows, DH 2008, Thinking in Systems: A Primer [Kindle Edition], Chelseas Green Publishing, Amazon Digital Services, Vermont.

MedicineNet 2003, Definition of Neocortex, viewed 10 April 2011, <http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=25283>.

Nisbett, RE, Choi, I, Peng, K & Norenzayan, A 2001, ‘Culture and Systems of Thought: Holistic Versus Analytic Cognition’, Pyschological Review, vol. 108, no. 2, pp. 291-310,

Rowe, R 2005, ‘The Modern 20th Century Society and a New Idealogy: The Genesis of Future Studies’, in RA Slaughter, S Inayatullah and J Ramos (eds), The knowledge base of future studies,  5 vols, CD-ROM, Professional edn, Foresight International.

Slaughter, RA 1999, Futures for the Third Millennium in Towards a Wise Culture, CD-ROM, Professional edn, Foresight International.

Slaughter, RA 2005, ‘Futures Concepts’, in RA Slaughter, S Inayatullah and J Ramos (eds), The knowledge base of future studies,  5 vols, CD-ROM, Professional edn, Foresight International.

Taleb, NN 2008, The Black Swan [Kindle Edition], ePenguin, Amazon Digital Services.

Taylor, FW 1911, The Principles of Scientific Management [Kindle Edition], Public Domain Books, Amazon Digital Services.

Voros, J 2011a, Lecture 2: Some Models for Understanding the Futures Studies Territory, Presented by B Bok, HBF540 Knowledge Base of Future Studies, Swinburne University of Technology, 8 March 2011.

Voros, J 2011b, Lecture 3: Futures Concepts and Tools, HBF540 Knowledge Base of Future Studies, Swinburne University of Technology, 9 March 2011.

Wilber, K 2001, A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science and Spirituality, Gateway, Park West, Dublin.

Appendix A: Three plateaus in adult mental development

Figure A.7: Three Adult Plateaus of Thought

Source: Kegan & Laskow Lahey (2009, L 450)

[1] Flannery (2008) raises the UAE as a beacon of hope for carbon neutral metropolises but fails to divulge that the UAE’s economy relies on oil and gas and it’s not a democracy with its legal system a mix of Sharia and civil law (CIA 2011).  When one compares an Arabic country with a majority population who look to the past for boundaries and rules (Inayatullah 2004) with a more heterogeneous society such as Australia it must be taken with caution.

[2] It should be noted that Wilber’s (2001) mathematical percentage calculations are incorrect but the point is useful.

The meaning of business ethics in corporate governance and its leadership in a global context

Ethics involves the notion of morals however they’re different but interrelated concepts (Ethics and morality, n.d.; Tallman 2009).  Morals are the individual establishment between right and wrong whereas ethics occurs in the context of groups of individuals who build shared values and standards creating a culture in which decisions influencing the causal relationship of right and wrong exist (Clawson 2006 ; Hrebiniak 2005 ; Klebe Treviño, Pincus Hartman & Brown 2000 ; Northouse 2009 ; Schein 2004).  There’s a philosophical question of whether businesses have ethics due to the notion that business is apart from society (Longstaff 1991).  However, individual people who constitute the business are part of multiple collectives defining the wider societal and cultural values environment in which ethics resides and the business operates (Huntsman 2008 ; Longstaff 1991).

The challenge with ethics in business is, goal posts constantly move through society’s evolution and redefinition of ethical standards to which businesses adhere (Jukes 2005 ; Longstaff 1991).  By looking into societies mirror a board wishing to behave ethically can interpret the system of ethics in which it operates (Schein 2004), however this becomes more complicated in an international and globalising setting (Mead & Andrews 2009).  Businesses operating in foreign countries face challenges when dealing with societies that find unethical behaviour of the ‘home’ culture acceptable (Schein 2004 ; Tallman 2009).  This complexity is amplified by the shifting demographics of migrant workers with differing cultural and religious values, greater access to information and more heterogeneous workforces particularly in western nations (Mead & Andrews 2009).  It’s also complicated at an individual level by unconscious biases that board members may not be aware of (Banaji, Bazerman & Chugh 2003).

There’s agreement in traits and principles that individual board members must have around which values are built in order for a system of ethical leadership to flourish; courage, respect, honesty, integrity, trust, justice, service, accountability, transparency, social responsibility and community (Clawson 2006 ; Covey 2009 ; Klebe Treviño, Pincus Hartman & Brown 2000 ; Northouse 2009 ; Wilson 2011).  But in corporate governance who is responsible for developing a culture in which ethical leadership (Northouse 2009) can exist?  Literature suggests that the CEO is responsible acting as the chief ethics officer (Klebe Treviño, Pincus Hartman & Brown 2000) however others keep more general by referring to leader(s) (Clawson 2006 ; Northouse 2009 ; Schein 2004).  It would follow that the board as a whole is responsible for establishing codified ethical standards however it’s been found that most companies don’t audit or enforce their ethical codes (Jukes 2005) meaning they will be reactive to a continually evolving ethical context.  To rectify this, constructing appropriate systems enforcing the creation of ethical values can begin with building, monitoring and evaluating appropriate reward systems (Banaji, Bazerman & Chugh 2003 ; Bazerman & Tenbrunsel 2011).

From a leadership perspective a board behaving ethically needs to decide whether it will proactively influence ethical change through shaping society (Johnson, Scholes & Whittington 2008) or just have a good reputation by consistently acting in ways congruent with its projected values and identity (Fleisher & Bensoussan 2007).  Unquestioningly following the mantra of that’s the way we do (always done) things around here isn’t ethical leadership (Schein 2004) with no place in the boardroom (Kiel & Nicholson 2003).  Leadership is having the courage to make difficult decisions (Cherry 2007) based on personal values of what will or won’t be done (Heifetz, Grashow & Linksy 2009) through either teleological or deontological (Wilson 2011) decision making.  This ensures the rules and laws of the game continue to be trusted (Handy 2002) and consequentially enables the legitimisation given by society to continue to operate (Porter & Kramer 2006) meaning a company remains part of society rather than apart (Longstaff 1991).

List of References
Banaji, MR, Bazerman, MH & Chugh, D 2003, ‘How (Un)Ethical Are You?’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 81, no. 12, pp. 56–64, viewed 11 October 2010.

Bazerman, MH & Tenbrunsel, AE 2011, ‘Ethical Breakdowns’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 89, no. 4, pp. 58-65, viewed 4 April 2011.

Cherry, N 2007, Cultivating Leadership Practice, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne.

Clawson, JG 2006, Level Three Leadership: getting below the surface, 4th edn., Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Covey, S 2009, Principle Centred Leadership [Kindle Edition], Rosetta Books, Amazon Digital Services, New York.

Ethics and morality,  n.d., St James Ethics Centre, viewed 4 April 2011, <http://www.ethics.org.au/content/ethics-and-morality>.

Fleisher, CS & Bensoussan, BE 2007, Business and Competitive Analysis: Effective Application of New and Classic Methods [Kindle Edition], Pearson Education, Amazon Digital Services, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

Handy, C 2002, ‘What’s a Business For?’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 80, no. 12, pp. 49-56, viewed 11 March 2011.

Heifetz, R, Grashow, A & Linksy, M 2009, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership [Kindle Edition], Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

Hrebiniak, LG 2005, Making Strategy Work [Kindle Edition], Wharton School Publishing, Amazon Digital Services, New Jersey.

Huntsman, JM 2008, Winners Never Cheat [Kindle Edition], Wharton School Publishing, Amazon Digital Services, New Jersey.

Johnson, G, Scholes, K & Whittington, R 2008, Exploring Corporate Strategy: Text and Cases, 8 edn., Pearson Education Limited, Essex, England.

Jukes, D 2005, A view from the top: Business ethics and leadership, viewed 7 April 2011, <www.wa.ipaa.org.au/download.php?id=96>.

Kiel, G & Nicholson, G 2003, Boards That Work: A new guide for directors, McGraw-Hill, North Ryde, NSW, Australia.

Klebe Treviño, L, Pincus Hartman, L & Brown, M 2000, ‘Moral person and moral manager: how executives develop a reputation for ethical leadership’, California Management Review, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 128–142, viewed 11 October 2010.

Longstaff, S 1991, Business ethics in Australia, viewed 7 April 2011, <http://www.ethics.org.au/ethics-articles/business-ethics-australia>.

Mead, R & Andrews, TG 2009, International Management, 4 edn., John Wiley & Sons Ltd, West Sussex, England.

Northouse, PG 2009, Leadership: Theory and Practice [Kindle Edition], 5 edn., Sage Publications Inc, Thousand Oaks, California, Amazon Digital Services.

Porter, ME & Kramer, MR 2006, ‘Strategy and Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 84, no. 12, pp. 78-92, viewed 13 December 2009.

Schein, EH 2004, Organizational Culture and Leadership [Kindle Edition], 3 edn., Jossey-Bass A Wiley Imprint, San Francisco, Amazon Digital Services.

Tallman, S 2009, Global Strategy [Kindle Edition], John-Wiley & Sons, West Sussex, United Kingdom, Amazon Digital Services.

Wilson, J 2011, Lecture 5: Reputation and Risk, HBO681 Corporate Governance in a Global Context, Swinburne University of Technology, 30 March 2011.

Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: What leadership capabilities are necessary to support innovation and entrepreneurship?

The following paper is a look at leadership qualities for innovation and entrepreneurship. Quite a difficult topic and the word count was extremely limiting but a lot of fun none the less!

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The words innovation and entrepreneurship cause confusion when addressing what leadership qualities are required to foster both.  The two concepts have mutually shared features and meanings.  An entrepreneur is someone who creates something new or different, transmuting or changing values, shifting resources from low to high productivity (Drucker 1985).  Correspondingly, innovation is, “driven by the ability to see connections, to spot opportunities and to take advantage of them” (Tidd et al. 2005, L 165).  Innovation can range from incremental through to radical product, process, position or paradigm change and is about reshaping the status quo to create value (Tidd et al. 2005).  One is an innovator if they, through entrepreneurial activities, have found utility for their invention in a market (Lafley & Charan 2008, p 25) with Drucker (1985, p 36) stating that innovation is the knowledge base of entrepreneurship.  An individual can be both, but it’s generally the purview of entrepreneurial start-ups with established organisations relying on people networks.  Govindarajan & Trimble’s (2010, L 439) simple maxim of “innovation = idea + leader + team + plan” is useful, indicating the importance of collaborative social process (Drucker 1985 ; Lafley & Charan 2008, p 26), but isn’t complete and is adapted in figure 1 to include two fundamentals.

From an organisational context, the term intrapreneur means an intra-corporate entrepreneur who take ideas to reality and whose absence decreases innovation possibilities (Pinchot & Pellman 1999, p ix).  The intrapreneurial leaders challenge is, innovation is neither repeatable nor predictable but is non-routine, uncertain (Govindarajan & Trimble 2010, L 380) and carries a degree of risk requiring a change of mind-set with Govindarajan & Trimble (2010, L 63) arguing, “the limits to innovation in large organizations have nothing to do with creativity… or technology… but everything to do with management capability.”

Figure 1: Innovation and Entrepreneurship Equation

Source: Adapted from Govindarajan & Trimble (2010, L 439), Kim & Mauborgne (2005) and Pinchot & Pellman (1999)

Requirement for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Both Schumpeter (1943), Marx and Engels (1888) share agreement, but with different outcomes, keeping intra/entrepreneurs and innovators in business, that is, to remain competitive an organisation needs to destroy its previous advantage through constant revolution of what made it competitive in the first place (Appendix A).  This has direct ramifications on sustainability because if ones competitors value your innovation and requires it to neutralise your advantage it will be adopted and adapted to the point that it becomes commoditised (Christensen 1997, L 2266).  This predicates that both innovation and entrepreneurship are imperative to create new solutions to distinguish organisations from the mediocre by imagining what could be (Hamel & Prahalad 1994, L 464).  If the organisation fails to anchor innovation with value, the company may lay eggs that others may hatch (Kim & Mauborgne 2005, p 13).  This is where intrapreneurial leaders make a difference.

Creativity and Change

The commonality between innovation and entrepreneurship is in organisational ability to tap into individual and collective creativity in order to innovate and those employees ability to cope with change.  It’s argued that in essence all people are creative, usually manifesting in ones past-times or hobbies, in other words where someone’s in their element (Csikszentmihaly 1996 ; Robinson 2001, L 327).  The intrapreneurial leaders challenge is, one doesn’t manage creativity by instructing people to innovate, one manages for creativity (Amabile & Khaire 2008).  The intrapreneurial leader needs to develop an environment, culture and capabilities that draws on these founts of creative energy (Clawson 2006) and apply them to the work setting.

Most people fear change because it’s often disruptive, risky and costly (Tidd et al. 2005).  With the trend for flatter, flexible organisations requiring entrepreneurial innovation due to increased volatility and competition (Kotter 2001), for some people their “raison d’être of working life—simply evaporates” (Goffee & Jones 2009, p 15).  Quite simply, they lose their identity or hierarchical title and their reality becomes uncertain.  This fear has negative consequences for ideation (Hellström & Hellström 2002, p 108) the very source of creativity.  It’s “not surprising that individuals and organizations develop many different cognitive, behavioural and structural ways of reinforcing the status quo“ (Tidd et al. 2005, L 6136).  Again this is the domain of intrapreneurial leaders through coping with change not just complexity (Kotter 2001).

Leadership and Culture

There are many explanations of what ‘good’ leadership is and in some descriptions, contradictory situations arise contributing to a ‘wedge of disconnection’ (Mintzberg et al. 2002) that places the leader on a pedestal.  This is exemplified through the infinite loop of academics looking for the magic answer in trait, behavioural, power and influence, situational, charismatic and transformational theories (Clawson 2006, p 450-462).  Table 1 and Appendix B.

Table 1: Examples of leadership types

7 Ways of Leading Level 5 Leadership
Opportunist – Wins any way possible Level 1 – Highly capable individual
Diplomat – Avoids overt conflict Level 2 – Contributing team member
Expert – Rules by logic and expertise Level 3 – Competent manager
Achiever – Meets strategic goals Level 4 – Effective leader
Individualist – Interweaves personal and company action logics Level 5 – Executive, builds enduring greatness through paradoxical combination of personal humility plus professional will
Strategist – generates organizational and personal transformations
Alchemist – Generates social transformations

Source:  Rooke & Torbert (2005), Collins (2001)

According to Schein (1990, p 22) leadership and culture are two sides of the same coin and leaders create cultures when they create groups and organisations.  This results in the leaders themselves being influenced by culture.

Table 2: Definition of group culture

“A pattern of shared basic assumptions that was learned by the group as it solved its problems of external adaption and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems”

Source: Schein (1990, p 17)

However this creates a paradox, as all people are influenced by many cultures at many levels, including temporal and regional circumstances (Hofstede et al. 2010)… What comes first?  This contributes to Schein’s (1990) proposition that there aren’t good or bad cultures, there just are cultures.  All a leader can do is positively influence a culture based on their VABE’s (Clawson 2006).  One of the main reasons for this complexity is due to the world becoming more connected through the mixing of people and cultures on a global, regional, national and organisational scale.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the workplace that’s no longer homogenous due to progress society has made both socially and technologically (Dickie & Soldan 2008).

Hofstede et al. (2010) explain the polarity and complexity of some cultures through their explanation of collectivist versus individualist cultures that may have weak or strong uncertainty avoidances.  Figure 2, 3 and Appendix C.  These factors need to be considered by the intrapreneurial leader because as Drucker (1985, p 25) states, “people who need certainty are unlikely to make good entrepreneurs.”  This of course is an absolutist argument that focuses on the individual by placing, for example, someone from Japan in a box of non-entrepreneurial yet highly collective.  It doesn’t take into account that the Japanese have pioneered innovation management practices such as Kaizen since WWII and now dominate the automotive industry (Ireland et al. 2008).

One could argue that maybe the whole is bigger than its parts and therein contains the answer?  Maybe the confidence of a successfully innovative collective can spur entrepreneurial behaviour?  To hark back to Schumpeter (1943), Marx and Engels’s (1888) similar views but diametrically opposed outcomes, one needs to consider the influences of time, circumstances and cultures.  All three are from similar regions in Europe (with their own cultures) but had vastly different experiences.  Is it possible that Marx and Engels were heavily influenced by the paradigm shift of the industrial revolution and sought solace in the collective to avoid uncertainty?  Whilst Schumpeter saw the benefits of mass production due to WWII and embraced the concept of challenging uncertainty through ingenuity, innovation and entrepreneurship?

Figure 2: Differences between collectivist and individualist workplaces

Source: Hofstede et al. (2010, p 124)

Figure 3: Differences between weak and strong uncertainty avoidances in the workplace

Source: Hofstede et al. (2010, p 217)

In summary innovation and entrepreneurship are heavily influenced by the macro-cultural context.  How does one draw out ideas from a person or group that values collectivism, not wanting to speak out of turn?  How does one lead in times of change when the wider cultural context seeks safety in certainty?  Is timing a consideration?  These factors add to the challenge for intrapreneurial leaders.

Followers, are they homogenous?

If one of the major qualities of a leader is coping with change (Kotter 2001) then one could surmise that ‘followers’ who are innovative and/or entrepreneurial are also ‘leaders.’  Then the aim of the intrapreneurial leaders should be to enable and direct their energy in a way that’s beneficial to the organisation.  Goffee and Jones (2009, p 3) label these people ‘clever,’ otherwise known as ‘A’ players (Huselid et al. 2005), due to their highly talented qualities with the “potential to create disproportionate amounts of value from the resources that the organisation makes available to them.”  However these people are not compliant followers like most management theory assumes.  They have specific characteristics and are found in particular places.  Table 3.  If the organisation ignores them they can be destructive, poisoning “a culture very quickly” (Goffee & Jones 2009, p 49).  This theory is corroborated by Robinson’s (2001, L 355) assertion, “if ideas are discouraged or ignored, the creative impulse does one of two things.   It deserts or subverts the organisation.  Creativity can work for you or against you.”  Simply put followers aren’t homogenous; this again raises challenges for intrapreneurial leaders.

Table 3: Nine common characteristics of ‘clever’ people and where they’re found

Characteristic Type of Clever Teams
Their cleverness is central to their identity Techie Teams
Their skills are not easily replicable Creative Teams
They know their worth Professional Teams
They ask difficult questions Problem Solving Teams
They are organizationally savvy Strategy Teams
They are not impressed by corporate hierarchy (and they don’t want to be led) Top Teams
They expect instant access
They want to be connected to other clever people
They won’t thank you

Source:  Goffee & Jones (2009, p 21-34 & 82–98)

The role of leadership to foster innovation and entrepreneurship

The intrapreneurial leader’s role is to “map out the stages of innovation and recognize the different processes, skill-sets, and technology support each requires” (Amabile & Khaire 2008).  The duty of intrapreneurial leaders is to create safety and draw out the very things that motivate and drive people, that are intrinsically linked to their desires (George et al. 2007).  Clawson (2006) would call this leading at level three by trying to understand peoples VABE’s through promoting innovation where people can make a difference tapping into employee’s “deepest intellectual and professional desires” (Lafley & Charan 2008, p 28).  By doing this intrapreneurial leaders create a community with Pinchot and Pellman (1999, p 99) stating, “at the core of community is voluntary contribution to the whole, above and beyond the call of duty.”  This is where intrinsic motivation and reward resides.  The feeling of a job well done or having made a difference can stimulate more than extrinsic carrot and stick motivation (Clawson 2006 ; Covey 2004).

Required Leadership Capabilities

Innovation and entrepreneurship requires energy (Tidd et al. 2005) and leadership requires the management of energy (Clawson 2006) by building a shared vision of a better future, fostering genuine commitment (Senge 2010) to overcome change resistant obstacles of the status quo.  This seems perfect, although it’s often more difficult than the previous statement suggests.  Not everyone is aggressively focused like Maccoby’s (2004) ‘productive narcissists’ or driven to sate their extrinsic desires (George et al. 2007).  Collins (2001, p 35) outlines individuals who were paradoxical in nature demonstrating humility plus will, of which there was only 11 from a sample of 1,435 companies, not even 1%!  This is why the idea of servant leadership (Banutu-Gomez 2004 ; Hannay 2009 ; Quist 2008) can be applied particularly when latent creativity (Csikszentmihaly 1996) and talent exists throughout the organisation that if channelled provides value (Goffee & Jones 2009).  If there are people who are entrepreneurial or innovative help them by enabling and guiding them.  Extrinsic satisfaction will come but is no substitute for intrinsic desires.

The intrapreneurial leaders particular foundational capability begins with self-knowledge and authenticity (George et al. 2007).  Through having self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation and empathy (Goleman 2004) they clarify their centre (Clawson 2006) through developing an open stance making it possible to be objective, whilst being aware of alternative possibilities (Csikszentmihaly 2008, p 205).  If intrapreneurial leaders develop the requisite ‘self’ skills then it’s possible that their “emotions and actions prompt followers to mirror those feelings and deeds” (Goleman & Boyatzis 2008).  This becomes the Gandhian (1957) self fulfilling philosophy of, ‘be the change you wish to see.’  If this happens and a focus on understanding the individual’s strengths and weaknesses occurs, the reality of distributing leadership throughout the organisation through complimentary skills could be realised (Ancona et al. 2007) releasing creativity to feed innovation and entrepreneurship.  The intrapreneurial leaders objective should be to promote change as an opportunity by walking the talk aiming to mirror their VABE’s throughout the organisation because, “people don’t embrace an opportunity because they see it, they embrace it because they feel it” (Hamel 2002, p 136).  By living this centred reality beginning with the self and establishing trust (Covey & Merril 2006), for those that shy away from uncertainty in the safety of the collective it’s possible that innovation and entrepreneurship can occur as is the example of Japan in section 3.

A word of warning, there is a danger that this analysis falls into the very trap that Mintzberg et al. (2002) warns.  The capabilities and qualities that follow (table 4) are to be taken as a guide and begin with the self rather than the wider context of ‘technical’ expertise due to the acknowledgement that innovation, entrepreneurship and its progeny of change and creativity is an adaptive challenge (Heifetz et al. 2009) requiring the development of higher states of awareness through self-transformation (Kegan & Laskow Lahey 2009).

Table 4: Selection of capabilities and qualities required of intrapreneurial leaders

Capabilities and qualities
Self-knowledge – understand what motivates them intrinsically and extrinsically, understand their capabilities including strengths and weaknesses (Ancona et al. 2007 ; Clawson 2006 ; Drucker 2005 ; George et al. 2007 ; Schecter & March 2003)
Authenticity – demonstrating a passion for the purpose, practicing their values consistently, leading with their hearts and their heads (George et al. 2007).  When people are engaged authentically in discussions that matter deeply, Senge (2010, L 6958) states, there’s no limit to the energy, courage and willingness to step into foreign territory.
Humble (Collins 2005 ; Goffee & Jones 2009)
Personal mastery – continually clarifying and deepening ones personal vision (Senge 2010)
Discipline (Schecter & March 2003), self-regulation (Goleman 2004), Persistence (Hamel 2007)
Ethical (Klebe Treviño, Pincus Hartman & Brown 2000 ; Northouse 2009)
Trustworthy (Clawson 2006 ; Covey & Merril 2006)
Systems thinker (Senge 2010) – recognising patterns instinctively (i.e. gut feeling) (Goleman & Boyatzis 2008)
Sense-making – understanding the context in which a company and its people operate (Ancona et al. 2007) and curiosity (Csikszentmihaly 1996)
Communicator, Relator – build networks of people, boundary crosser (Ancona et al. 2007) / Establish a guiding coalition (Kotter 1996), establishing team learning (Senge 2010), Enabler (Bennis 2010)
Strategic creative thinking through generative reasoning (De Wit & Meyer 2005) and if they feel they cannot think creatively, let creative thinkers get involved.
Self transforming (Kegan & Laskow Lahey 2009) / autonomous moving towards integrated (Loevinger 1976; 1987 cited by Hayward 2003)
Foresight and imagining a better future by building a shared vision (Senge 2010)
Cultural and situational lens switching (Heifetz et al. 2009 ; Skarzynski & Gibson 2008), the ability to challenge mental models (Senge 2010), Culturally aware and sensitive (Dickie & Soldan 2008 ; Quist 2008 ; Santos 2004)
Establish a currency of reciprocity (Clawson 2006)/ investor in the ‘emotional bank account’ (Covey 1989)
Servant leader (Banutu-Gomez 2004 ; Hannay 2009 ; Quist 2008)
Risk and failure tolerant – to create an environment of psychological safety (Amabile & Khaire 2008)
A sense of timing (Csikszentmihaly 1996) and of when certainty is needed (Cherry 2010), evolutionary rather than revolutionary (Hamel 2007)
Developer and mentor – of other leaders for the future (Lafley & Charan 2008, p 28)

Practices to be discouraged
Bureaucratic, efficiency-minded management has no place in innovation (Hamel 2007), so leaders need to develop a model of intrapreneurship that fosters creativity and networks (figure 4).  Birkinshaw (2003) explain BP’s framework of direction, space, boundaries, and support (figure 5) in which balance is integral with tight constraints as destructive as loose ones.

Figure 4: Leaders in collaborative networks

Source: Barsh et al. (2008)

Figure 5: BP’s model for corporate entrepreneurship

Source: Birkinshaw (2003)

Allowing a culture of fear and isolation by stifling risk taking, punishing failure (Amabile & Khaire 2008) and not being considerate of individual’s cultural context is another consideration.  Pigeon-holing someone because of their ethnicity or background stifles innovation as diversity can deliver groundbreaking solutions (Santos 2004).  Goffess and Jones’s (2009) illustration of ‘clevers’ also provides practices to be discouraged, provided in table 5.

Table 5: Dos and don’ts for leading clever people

Dos Don’ts
Explain and persuade Tell people what to do
Use expertise Use hierarchy
Give people space and resources Allow them to burn out
Tell them what Tell them how
Provide boundaries (agree on simple rules) Create bureaucracies
Give people time Interfere
Give recognition (amplify their achievements) Give frequent feedback
Encourage failure and maximise learning Train
Protect them from the rain (organizational politics) Expose them to politics
Give real-world challenges with constraints Build an ivory tower
Talk straight Use bull or deceive
Create a galaxy Create a star
Conduct and connect Don’t take all the credit as the leader

Source:  Goffee & Jones (2009, p 43)

Kelley and Littman (2001, p 180–181) describe barriers to creating an innovation culture including; clean, hierarchy-based, bureaucratic, anonymous organisations dominated by experts.  On the flip side they recommend bridges that can foster innovation by allowing people to be themselves.  Appendix D.  Whilst Moss Kanter (1983) elucidates poor practices that typically exemplify a lack of trust in one’s peers and subordinates.  Appendix E

Conclusion

Some leadership theorists tend to promote utopian philosophies based on unrepeatable qualities.  For the would be leader, trying to emulate productive narcissists (Maccoby 2004), paradoxical level 5 leaders (Collins 2001) or any other construct that alludes to imperative leadership qualities is likely to lead to failure.  They are no longer being themselves and can potentially lose sight of who they are and become unauthentic (George et al. 2007), the very opposite of what a leader should be.  Blindly following utopian advice of leadership theorists is fraught with danger particularly when utopia is derived from the Greek ou-topos meaning no place or nowhere and eu-topos meaning good place, a paradoxical mixture, asking can utopia ever be realised (British-Library n.d.)?  We are all imperfect beings meaning we are incomplete leaders (Ancona et al. 2007).  If leadership is what we aspire to maybe we need to work hard at extracting the best from ourselves or as Drucker (2005) states focusing on our strengths whilst minimising our weaknesses and also our followers who also share leadership capability that might just go untapped if we don’t.

In summary the question of leadership qualities to foster innovation and entrepreneurship is slightly rhetoric due to the conflicting nature of some theory and its significant influence of time, circumstance and culture.  As a result, this report should be taken as an imperfect guide to complex territory.

List of References

Amabile, TM & Khaire, M 2008, ‘Creativity and the Role of the Leader’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 86, no. 10, pp. 100–109, viewed 11 October 2010.

Ancona, D, Malone, TW, Orlikowski, WJ & Senge, PM 2007, ‘In Praise of the Incomplete Leader’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 85, no. 2, pp. 92–100, viewed 11 October 2010.

Banutu-Gomez, MB 2004, ‘Great Leaders Teach Exemplary Followership and Serve as Servant Leaders’, Journal of American Academy of Business, vol. 4, no. 1/2, pp. 143-151, viewed 10 September 2010.

Barsh, J, Capozzi, MM & Davidson, J 2008, Leadership and innovation, viewed 16 August 2010, <https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Leadership_and_innovation_2089>.

Bennis, W 2010, Learning to Lead 4th Edition [Kindle Edition], 4 edn., Basic Books, New York, Amazon Digital Services.

Birkinshaw, J 2003, ‘The Paradox of Corporate Entrepreneurship’, strategy + business,no. 30, pp. 1–12, viewed 11 October 2010.

British-Library n.d., Utopia, viewed 20 October 2010, <http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/21cc/utopia/utopia.html>.

Cherry, N 2010, ‘Nita’s Golden Rules of Leadership’, Lecture on Understanding the consequences of the dynamics of ambiguity, power and influence for HBO680 Leadership for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology, 9 September 2010.

Christensen, CM 1997, The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail [Kindle Edition], 1 edn., Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

Clawson, JG 2006, Level Three Leadership: getting below the surface, 4th edn., Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Collins, J 2001, Good to Great, Random House, London.

Collins, J 2005, ‘Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 79, no. 1, pp. 136–146, viewed 11 October 2010.

Covey, S 1989, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Free Press A Division of Simon & Schuster Inc., New York.

Covey, S 2004, The 8th Habit: from Effectiveness to Greatness, Free Press, New York.

Covey, S & Merril, RR 2006, The Speed of Trust [Kindle Edition], Free Press, New York, Amazon Digital Services.

Csikszentmihaly, M 1996, Creativity: Flow And The Psychology Of Discovery And Invention, Harper Perennial.

Csikszentmihaly, M 2008, Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience, 2 edn., Harper Perennial.

De Wit, B & Meyer, R 2005, Strategy Synthesis: Resolving Strategy Paradoxes to Create Competitive Advantage, 2 edn., Cengage Learning, London, England.

Dickie, C & Soldan, Z 2008, Diversity Management, 1 edn., Tilde University Press, Prahran.

Drucker, PF 1985, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Collins Business, New York.

Drucker, PF 2005, ‘Managing Oneself’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 83, no. 1, pp. 100–109, viewed 11 October 2010.

Gandhi, M 1957, Gandhi – An Autobiography: The story of my experiments with truth, Beacon Press, Boston, Massachussetts.

George, B, Sims, P, McLean, AN & Mayer, D 2007, ‘Discovering Your Authentic Leadership’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 85, no. 2, pp. 129–138, viewed 11 October 2010.

Goffee, R & Jones, G 2009, Clever: Leading your smartest, most creative people, Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts.

Goleman, D 2004, ‘What Makes a Leader?’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 82, no. 1, pp. 82–91, viewed 11 October 2010.

Goleman, D & Boyatzis, R 2008, ‘Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 86, no. 9, pp. 74–81, viewed 11 October 2010.

Govindarajan, V & Trimble, C 2010, The Other Side of Innovation [Kindle Edition], Harvard Business Press, Amazon Digital Services, Boston, Massachusetts.

Hamel, G 2002, Leading the Revolution, 2 edn., Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts.

Hamel, G 2007, The Future of Management [Kindle Edition], Harvard Business School Press, Boston, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

Hamel, G & Prahalad, CK 1994, Competing for the Future [Kindle Edition], Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

Hannay, M 2009, ‘The Cross-Cultural Leader: The Application of Servant Leader Theory in the International Context’, Journal of International Business and Cultural Studies, vol. 1, pp. 1-12, viewed 10 September.

Hayward, P 2003, ‘Resolving the moral impediments to foresight action’, Foresight, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 4–10, viewed 11 October 2010.

Heifetz, R, Grashow, A & Linksy, M 2009, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership [Kindle Edition], Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

Hellström & Hellström 2002, ‘Highways, Alleys and By-lanes: Charting Pathways for Ideas and Innovation in Organizations’, Creativity and Innovation Management, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 107–114, viewed 11 October 2010.

Hofstede, G, Hofstede, GJ & Minkov, M 2010, Cultures and Organizations: Intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival, 3 edn., McGraw Hill.

Huselid, MA, Becker, BE & Beatty, RW 2005, The Workforce Scorecard: Managing Human Capital to Execute Strategy, Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts.

Ireland, RD, Hoskisson, RE & Hitt, MA 2008, Understanding Business Strategy: Concepts and Cases, 2 edn., South-Western Cengage Learning.

Kegan, R & Laskow Lahey, L 2009, Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization (Leadership for the Common Good) [Kindle Edition], 1 edn., Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

Kelley, T & Littman, J 2001, The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm, Crown Business.

Kim, WC & Mauborgne, R 2005, Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, Massachusetts.

Klebe Treviño, L, Pincus Hartman, L & Brown, M 2000, ‘Moral person and moral manager: how executives develop a reputation for ethical leadership’, California Management Review, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 128–142, viewed 11 October 2010.

Kotter, J 1996, Leading Change, Harvard Business School Press, Boston.

Kotter, JP 2001, ‘What Leaders Really Do’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 79, no. 11, pp. 85–96, viewed 11 October 2010.

Lafley, AG & Charan, R 2008, The Game Changer: How Every Leader Can Drive Everyday Innovation, Profile Books Ltd, London, England.

Maccoby, M 2004, ‘Narcissistic leaders: the incredible pros, the inevitable cons’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 82, no. 1, pp. 92–101, viewed 11 October 2010.

Marx, K & Engels, F 1888, The Communist Manifesto, Verso, London.

Mintzberg, H, Simons, R & Basu, K 2002, ‘Beyond selfishness’, Sloan Management Review, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 67–74, viewed 11 October 2010.

Moss Kanter, R 1983, The Change Masters: Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the American Corporation, Simon and Schuster, New York.

Northouse, PG 2009, Leadership: Theory and Practice [Kindle Edition], 5 edn., Sage Publications Inc, Thousand Oaks, California, Amazon Digital Services.

Pinchot, G & Pellman, R 1999, Intrapreneuring in Action: A Handbook for Business Innovation, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San-Francisco.

Quist, AH 2008, ‘The Cosmopolitan Servant Leader’, Journal of Strategic Leadership, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 46–55, viewed 30 April 2010.

Robinson, K 2001, Out of our Minds: Learning to be Creative [Kindle Edition], Capstone Publishing, Amazon Digital Services.

Rooke, D & Torbert, WR 2005, ‘Seven Transformations of Leadership’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 83, no. 4, pp. 66–76, viewed 11 October 2010.

Santos, J 2004, ‘Is Your Innovation Process Global?’, MIT Sloan Management Review, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 31–37, viewed 11 October 2010.

Schecter, S & March, JG 2003, in Passion & Discipline: Don Quixote’s Lessons for Leadership, pp. running time 68 minutes, viewed 21 October 2010.

Schein, EH 1990, ‘Chapter 1: Organizational Culture and Leadership Defined’, in Organizational Culture and Leadership,  Jossey-Bass, Oxford.

Schumpeter, JA 1943, Capitalism, Socialism & Democracy [Kindle Edition], 6 edn., Taylor & Francis eBooks, London, United Kingdom, Amazon Digital Services.

Senge, PM 2010, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization [Kindle Edition], Cornerstone Digital, London, Amazon Digital Services.

Skarzynski, P & Gibson, R 2008, Innovation to the Core: A Blueprint for Transforming the Way Your Company Innovates [Kindle Edition], Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

Tidd, J, Bessant, J & Pavitt, K 2005, Managing Innovation. Integrating technological, market and organisational change [Kindle Edition], 3 edn., Wiley Publishing, Amazon Digital Services.

Appendix A: Agreement on the foundations for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Appendix A: Schumpeter on Capitalism
“Capitalism, then, is by nature a form of economic change and not only never is but never can be stationary… The fundamental impulse that sets and keeps the capitalist engine in motion comes from the new consumers’ goods, the new methods of production or transportation, the new markets, the new forms of industrial organization that capitalist enterprise creates” (Schumpeter 1943, L 1930).

“But in capitalist reality as distinguished from its textbook picture, it is not that kind of competition which counts but the competition from the new commodity, the new technology, the new source of supply, the new type of organization (the largest-scale unit of control for instance)—competition which commands a decisive cost or quality advantage and which strikes not at the margins of the profits and the outputs of the existing firms but at their foundations and their very lives” (Schumpeter 1943, L 1967)

Appendix A: Marx and Engels on Capitalism

“The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society… Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish bourgeois epoch from earlier ones” (Marx & Engels 1888, p 38).

Appendix B: Bennis’s theory of Leaders versus Managers

  • The manager administers; the leader innovates.
  • The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.
  • The manager maintains; the leader develops.
  • The manager accepts reality; the leader investigates it.
  • The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
  • The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
  • The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.
  • The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.
  • The manager has her eye always on the bottom line; the leader has her eye on the horizon.
  • The manager imitates; the leader originates.
  • The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
  • The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is her own person.
  • The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.”

(Bennis 2010, L 728)

Appendix C: Global Uncertainty versus Masculinity Index

Source: Hofstede et al. (2010, p 214)

Appendix D: Kelley and Littman’s (2001) Barriers and Bridges to Innovation
The following table is Kelley and Littman’s (2001) Barriers and Bridges to Innovation:

Barriers Bridges
Hierarchy-basedInnovation and structure are like oil and water.  Forcing ideas to start at the top or rigidly follow a vertical path through an organization tends to weigh down new projects.  There are just too many obstacles. Merit-basedIf your company is truly willing to embrace ideas from any source, not only will innovations flourish more readily, but people will be more open to tossing their thoughts out into the ring.
BureaucracyIf you have to fill out a standardized form or consult a lawyer every time you start a project, pretty soon you’ll just try fewer new things. AutonomyIf you’re the master of your own destiny, you’ll have the self-confidence to take risks.  Yes, you’ll occasionally stumble, but you’ll keep reaching for new successes too.
AnonymousThere are companies where nobody seems to notice or care.  Places where you can cruise slowly up a predictable career path as long as you don’t rock the boat.  Places where playing it safe is the wisest course. FamiliarIf you feel like friends and family, then occasionally will understand an occasional misstep.  Good organizations make you feel comfortable enough to poke fun at each other—even at the boss—because you’re among friends.
CleanBeware of clean desk policies or strict rules about customizing your space.  Even a “tidy” organizational structure can stifle creativity.  If you keep laying down restrictions, you shouldn’t be surprised when the project team has trouble thinking outside of the box. MessyMy office may be messy but it’s unmistakably mine, a personalized home base for the many hours I spend there.  New York City is a good metaphor for this kind of stimulating messiness—a jumble of cultures, ideas and experiences that spawns great energy and creativity among its inhabitants,.
ExpertsExpertise is great until it begins to shut you off from new learning.  Man y self-described experts, for example, talk more than they listen.  Experts can inadvertently block an innovation by saying, “It’s never been done that way.” TinkerersA tinkerer is always tweaking things and ideas, trying to improve their work and themselves.  Tinkerers ignore the status quo because they know they’ll be trying something a little different tomorrow.  They’re great at launching projects and keeping them in motion.

Source: Kelley & Littman (2001, p 180–181)

Appendix E: Moss Kanter’s (1983, p 101) Rules for Stifling Innovation

The following ‘rules’ are a contradictory way of looking at innovation management practices.  If one were to implement them one would expect an un-innovative and un-entrepreneurial organisation:

  • Regard any new idea from below with suspicion—because it’s new, and because it’s from below.
  • Insist that people who need your approval to act first go through several other levels of management to get their signatures.
  • Ask departments or individuals to challenge and criticize each other’s proposals.  (That saves you the job of deciding; you just pick the survivor.)
  • Express your criticisms freely, and withhold your praise.  (That keeps people on their toes.)  Let them know they can be fired at any time.
  • Treat identification of problems as failure, to discourage people from letting you know when something in their area isn’t working.
  • Control everything carefully.  Make sure people count anything that can be counted, frequently.
  • Make decisions to reorganize or change policies in secret, and spring them on people unexpectedly.  (That also keeps people on their toes.)
  • Make sure that requests for information are fully justified, and make sure that it is not given out to managers freely.  (You don’t want data falling into the wrong hands.)
  • Assign to lower-level managers, in the name of delegation and participation, responsibility for figuring out how to cut back, lay off, move people around, or otherwise implement threatening decisions you have made.  And get them to do it quickly.
  • And above all, never forget that you, the higher-ups, already know everything important about this business.

(Moss Kanter 1983, p 101)

Strategy and Innovation

The following is a paper I wrote on Strategy and Innovation. I only had 2000 words, which made it all the more difficult! I hope you enjoy and look forward to any feedback or criticism.

Strategy

There is much debate as to what strategy is and how to best perform the practical process of formation.  To frame the dichotomy, Mintzberg and Lampel (1999 ; 2005) dissect the various strategic ‘schools of thought’ and divide them into ‘prescriptive’ and ‘descriptive’ categories where the former has more militaristic, analytical and positional origins in the vein of Sun Tsu (2001), Liddell-Hart (1954) and Porter (1980).  The later is categorised into psychodynamics, culture and learning in the spirit of Bion (cited by Tyson 1998), Schein (2004) and Senge (2010).  To simplify, Kiechel (2010, L 257) states, “strategy has gone through three phases over the last sixty years, from position to process to people” (Appendix A; figure 1; 2).

Table 1: Definition of Strategy

    “The direction and scope of an organisation over the long term, which achieves advantage in a changing environment through its configuration of resources and competences with the aim of fulfilling stakeholder expectations.”

Source: (Johnson et al. 2008, p 3)

De Wit and Meyer (2005) follow a similar logic, dividing the strategy into rational/planned versus generative/incremental, with Kim and Mauborgne (2009) defining two strategic approaches, ‘structuralist,’ assuming an uncontrollable environment and ‘reconstructionist,’ assuming a malleable environment.  This is further distilled through Kiechel’s (2010) analysis that the strategy paradox is defined as the struggle between positioning, attributed to Porter (1980, 1985) and organisational learning, attributed to Mintzberg (1994 ; 1985).

Figure 1: The Prescriptive Schools


Source: Mintzberg et al. (2005, p 353)

Figure 2: The Descriptive Schools

Source: Mintzberg et al. (2005, p 353)

The argument posed by theorists is whether strategy is deliberately, rationally planned or emergent, based in creative responses to changing stimuli (Mintzberg et al. 2005) with Kiechel (cited by Mintzberg et al. 2005, p 177) commenting, only 10% of formulated strategies get implemented. Figure 3.

Figure 3: Deliberate versus Emergent Strategies

Source: Mintzberg et al. (2005, p 12)

However there is agreement that strategy is about change, due to more volatility and competition (Kotter 2001), to best deliver a positive organisational future.  This dispute has ramifications on the process of implementing and managing innovation which Kiechel (2010, L 338) describes as the latest evolution of strategy.

Innovation
To contrast, innovation has similar tensions such as technology push or market pull (Johnson et al. 2008).  However there is agreement on innovation types, through more granular explanations of outcomes and strata.  Outcomes feature what could be coined as the five D’s of innovation, including, destruction (Schumpeter 1943), diffusion (Rogers 2003) (figure 4), disruption (Christensen 1997 ; Christensen & Raynor 2003) (figure 5), discontinuous (Skarzynski & Gibson 2008) and democratised (von Hippel 2005).  The strata includes innovation focused on product, process, position and paradigm (Tidd et al. 2005) all of which, the five D’s influence by successfully exploiting change through the social or economic system (Drucker 1985 ; Rogers 2003).

Figure 4: Demographic Based on Innovation Adoption – Diffusion

Source: Rogers (2003, L 5869)

Figure 5: The Disruptive Innovation Model

Source: Christensen & Raynor (2003, L 473)

Tidd et al. (2005, L 6136) describe, “innovation is about learning and change which is often disruptive, risky and costly.”  Whilst Skarzynksy and Gibson (2008, L 913) posit, innovation doesn’t come solely from individual brilliance but is driven by viewing the world through a different set of lenses “to see connections, spot opportunities and take advantage of them” with the aim of reshaping the status quo to create value for the customer (Tidd et al. 2005, L 165–199).  If the customers find value and adopt the innovation, the competition may imitate to neutralise the innovative organisation’s competitive advantage.  If this is the case it will be adopted and adapted to the point that it becomes commoditised and the norm (Christensen 1997, L 2266–2274).

The issue then becomes how does an organisation develop the capability of systematic innovation, purposefully searching for changes and opportunities that might offer social or economic benefit (Drucker 1985, p 34–35), which will be valued by the customer and beat competitors?

Strategy and Innovation Summary

In summary strategy and innovation share common elements (table 2).  An organisation wishing to implement a strategy for innovation has two very different difficulties to overcome.  Strategic formulation needs to cope with issues between the paradoxical natures of planned deliberate strategy versus, emergent generative strategy to allow for innovation.  Innovation management has the difficulty of what is to be managed, how do you manage it and align it to the strategy, what is the culture and how risk tolerant is the organisation?  The organisation needs to consider, what is strategic and what is operational and should they be mutually exclusive or reinforcing?  If innovation is about learning and change (Tidd et al. 2005) then the question to be answered is what comes first and how does the organisation implement an innovative strategy or a strategy for innovation?  Lastly should the organisation be an innovation leader or follower?

Table 2: Common elements shared between strategy and innovation

  • Both require the systematic analysis of the external and internal environments for signs of change in order that appropriate responses can be designed and implemented.
  • Both are forward looking to potentially change or alter a position in the marketplace or create a paradigm that becomes culturally accepted.
  • Both are backward looking to understand how the present and future are influenced
  • Both involve social structures that combine resources to answer a fundamental question, “how does one generate advantage to guarantee sufficient return?”
  • Both are fundamentally about change.
  • Both require social systems to execute change and influence culture
  • Both are about learning from success and failure
  • Both share paradoxical polar extreme challenges.
  • Both share a need for a degree of foresight and extrapolation of future expectations
  • Both can be radical or incremental

The importance of strategy formation to innovation

The old adages of “fail to plan, plan to fail” (Fahey & Randall 1997) and “innovate or die” (Jagersma 2003) are both related to business survival.  Therefore if one were to subscribe to the planning school having importance in strategic formulation, then both strategy and innovation are equally important.

Strategy needs to be the driving force behind innovation practice with Lafley and Charan (2008, p 29) postulating, to implement an innovation culture, strategy comes first followed by ideation and appropriate organisational structures.  De Wit and Myer (2005, p 67) state, strategy formation is an innovation process, which is subversive, rebellious and challenging those who are wedded to the present paradigm.  Strategy without innovation becomes a zero sum game; a strategy of do nothing in the current competitive environment (Kotter 2001) ultimately means a loss of competitive advantage or results in a possible Icarus Paradox (Miller 1992) through missing the inflection/tripping point (Grove 2010 ; Brown 2005 cited by Johnson et al. 2008, p 334). Figure 6.

Figure 6: Strategic Inflection Point

Source: Grove (2010, L 478)

For established businesses continuous strategic and technological renewal is imperative to insure against irrelevance (Hamel 2006) whilst, for new businesses a staircase process of future expectations vital (Berkery 2008 ; Swingler 2010).  Figure 7 and 8 illustrate how both concepts are similar.  Both types of business lifecycle indicate a possible approach to strategy formation and innovation management explored in the next sections.

Figure 7: Funding Strategy in Staircase/Stepping Stone Form

Source: Berkery (2008, L 518)

Figure 8: Technological S Curve

Source: Christensen (1997, L 640)

Differing business views and current issues

Indicated previously, there are many differing views.  However the stage of the business could indicate how strategy formation can influence innovation management.  If the business is new, a predication for first mover advantage (Johnson et al. 2008) is driven by the entrepreneur/innovator(s) who sees the requisite changes, need and timing (Skarzynski & Gibson 2008) to bring their product to market.  Whilst in established businesses, strategy could be based on following or be driven by the concept of intrapreneuring (Pinchot III 2000) to explore the possibilities of entrepreneurial leading to establish something new.

A new business or an intrapreneurial business unit might focus on the product first, then, as the product is diffused and accepted, focus on incrementally improving the process through trial, experimentation and learning (Johnson et al. 2008).  However for established businesses trying to establish innovation, Govindarajan and Trimble (2004, 70) suggest, “conventional planning approaches create barriers to learning.”  This indicates bureaucratic mechanisms such as formal, rote, isolated planning crush innovation (De Wit & Meyer 2005, p 55) and intra/entrepreneurs, the very people who link the opportunity to the market (Drucker 1985) who continually learn about needs, demand and improvement.

An organisation cannot just state that it wants to be innovative with Mintzberg (1994, p 299–300, italics added) linking creativity, a building block of innovation to strategy, “creativity… cannot happen in isolation or on schedule, let alone on demand (any more than can strategy formation, the best of it being just a form of creativity in any event).“  With the establishment that innovation is a component of strategy, a social process for both would be more suitable than an isolated analytical activity where the ideation process is closed (Chesborough 2003).  Barsh et al. (2008) cite, new ideas spur more new ideas with social networks generating a cross-fertilized cycle of innovation.  Their contention is, by utilising existing resources, management might avoid radical in preference for incremental change, which is preferential for stability. Figure 9.

Figure 9: The role of leadership in collaborative environments


Source: Barsh, Capozzi & Davidson (2008)

Skarzynski & Gibson (2008, L 1061) create their own paradox through challenging foresight, by stating that radical innovators are not people who try to predict or imagine the future (i.e. scenario planners) but are people who are aware of things changing in the present but then quote futurist Naisbitt, “the future is embedded in the present.”  The place for traditional analysis (i.e. present) is in areas where innovations sustain a market position.  However this changes when a disruptive innovation defines a potentially new market (Christensen 1997, L 191).  Similarly, at the stage of discontinuity, traditional strategy formulation tools cannot be used because there is no history with which to inform (Lindgren 2009).  This indicates that foresight tools are applicable (figure 10, 11) to develop scenarios that “are not predictions, extrapolations, good or bad futures, or science fiction.  Instead, they are purposeful stories about how the contextual environment could unfold over time” (Burt et al. 2006, p 60).  The main aim of a scenario is to provide contextual and causal data to help the decision making process.

Figure 10: Scenario planning and non-linear, disruptive change


Source: Lindgren (2009, p 29)

Figure 11: Levels of Proactivity

Source: Lindgren (2009, p 15)

The issues facing strategy formation and innovation management are based in the paradoxical nature and similarities between the fields.  The issues are also based in attitude to risk, which is firmly embedded in culture, due to both fields being about change.  Lastly, humankind isn’t infallible.  Some things occur that cannot be predicted with ‘Black Swans’ interrupting a company’s strategy due to the resultant plans failing because of “tunnelling, the neglect of sources of uncertainty outside the plan itself” (Taleb 2008, L 3346).

Strategic management considerations and recommendations

This is a complex area of management, with the hope that this analysis spurs the reader to question their assumptions by incorporating innovation into strategy formation processes to deliver resultant innovation.  The following proposes considerations and recommendations:

  • The organisation must know it’s core competencies (Hamel & Prahalad 1994) in order to develop strategic innovation as a core capability.
  • There must be balance towards the ‘strategy paradox’ (De Wit & Meyer 2005 ; Mintzberg & Lampel 1999 ; Stonehouse et al. 2004 ; Tidd et al. 2005) with each ‘school’ having its place.  Figure 12.  Mintzberg and Lampel (1999) suggest that balance is due to the prescriptive schools being clear and consistent whilst the descriptive schools allowing for experimentation and innovation.  All of the necessary ingredients, refashioned as strategy formation processes delivering needed ambidexterity (Birkinshaw & Gibson 2004).

Figure 12: Strategy Formation as a Single Process

Source: Mintzberg & Lampel (1999, p 27)

  • Strategy focusing on cultural and social elements to deliver innovation is key to long-term success.  Drucker (1985, p 33) cites, technology can be imported at low cost, with minimum cultural risk.  Institutions, by contrast, need cultural roots to grow and prosper.  This suggests, strategy formation should not be the purview of one person or an isolated team but benefit from social structures bringing the outside/operational in, to deliver open, innovative (Chesborough 2003) strategy.
  • Hammer (2004) outlines the concept of iterative or evolutionary innovation similar to Agile software development (Ambler 2005).  For operational innovations that may be championed by members of the lower organizational ranks, a process of evaluation to assess strategic alignment may be necessary (Hammer 2004).  Thus providing the loop and feedback necessary to create learning, so strategy feeds innovation and innovation informs strategy. Figure 13.

Figure 13: Strategic Process – Definition and Implementation for Innovation


Source: Christensen & Raynor (2003, L 2612)

  • Due to the commoditisation of innovation (Christensen 1997) a strategy of creating a portfolio of innovation projects (Skarzynski & Gibson 2008) to ensure, when one reaches tipping point, the overall enterprise maintains its relative position should be implemented.
  • Scenario development should be utilised within the strategy and innovation social structures, due to their value “when it comes to paradigmatic/non-linear change” (Lindgren 2009, p 28)

These recommendations are demonstrable in Apple Inc. deciding on software driven strategy in 2001.  Their hardware is complimentary to the free iTunes software and both are iterated continuously, as they work to lower their prices and offer better performance and features (The-Age 2010).

This strategy has elements of the prescriptive schools and descriptive strategic schools including all of the five D’s and four P’s of innovation.  Simply put, they were first mover in 1993 with Newton, it failed, they learned, they studied pirated software/music distribution, introduced iTunes and the iPod (follower), acquired innovative companies and developed a portfolio of products, including hobbies, waiting for the right time (Ireland et al. 2008).  Lastly, they incorporated taking the long view (Schwartz 1996) and scenario planning in order to shape the future (Lindgren 2009).

Conclusion

The contention is if properly executed, strategy and innovation should be intrinsically linked and self-perpetuating.  Innovation can be symbiotic to strategy at all levels of the formulation process.  The informative nature of both constructs should alert one of threat/opportunity and therefore the other a response.  If this ideal can be realised then continual advantage over ones competition may be attained regardless if one is an innovation leader or follower.

List of References

Ambler, SW 2005, Disciplined Agile Software Development: Definition, viewed 8 October 2010, <http://www.agilemodeling.com/essays/agileSoftwareDevelopment.htm>.

Barsh, J, Capozzi, MM & Davidson, J 2008, Leadership and innovation, viewed 16 August 2010, <https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Leadership_and_innovation_2089>.

Berkery, D 2008, Raising Venture Capital for the Serious Entrepreneur [Kindle Edition], McGraw-Hill, Amazon Digital Services.

Birkinshaw, J & Gibson, C 2004, ‘Building ambidexterity into an organization’, MIT Sloan Management Review, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 47–55, viewed 11 October 2010.

Burt, G, Wright, G, Bradfield, R, Cairns, G & Van der Heijden, K 2006, ‘The Role of Scenario Planning in Exploring the Environment in View of the Limitations of PEST and Its Derivatives’, International Studies of Management and Organization, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 50–76, viewed 11 October 2010.

Chesborough, H 2003, ‘The era of open innovation’, MIT Sloan Management Review, vol. 44, no. 3, pp. 35–41, viewed 11 October 2010.

Christensen, CM 1997, The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail [Kindle Edition], 1 edn., Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

Christensen, CM & Raynor, ME 2003, The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth [Kindle Edition], 1 edn., Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

De Wit, B & Meyer, R 2005, Strategy Synthesis: Resolving Strategy Paradoxes to Create Competitive Advantage, 2 edn., Cengage Learning, London, England.

Drucker, PF 1985, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Collins Business, New York.

Fahey, L & Randall, RM 1997, Learning from the future: Competitive foresight scenarios [Kindle Edition], John Wiley & Sons, Amazon Digital Services.

Govindarajan, V & Trimble, C 2004, ‘Strategic innovation and the science of learning’, MIT Sloan Management Review, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 67–75, viewed 11 October 2010.

Grove, AS 2010, Only the Paranoid Survive: How to exploit the Crisis Points that Challenge Every Company [Kindle Edition], Crown Business, Amazon Digital Services.

Hamel, G 2006, ‘The Why, What and How of Management Innovation’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 84, no. 2, pp. 72–84, viewed 11 October 2010.

Hamel, G & Prahalad, CK 1994, Competing for the Future [Kindle Edition], Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

Hammer, M 2004, ‘Deep Change: How Operational Innovation Can Transform Your Company’, Harvard Business Review, pp. 84–93, viewed 11 October 2010.

Ireland, RD, Hoskisson, RE & Hitt, MA 2008, Understanding Business Strategy: Concepts and Cases, 2 edn., South-Western Cengage Learning.

Jagersma, PK 2003, ‘Innovate or die’, Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 25–28, viewed 12 October 2010.

Johnson, G, Scholes, K & Whittington, R 2008, Exploring Corporate Strategy: Text and Cases, 8 edn., Pearson Education Limited, Essex, England.

Kiechel III, W 2010, The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World [Kindle Edition], Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

Kim, WC & Mauborgne, R 2009, ‘How Strategy Shapes Structure’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 87, no. 9, pp. 72–80, viewed 11 October 2010.

Kotter, JP 2001, ‘What Leaders Really Do’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 68, no. 3, pp. 103–111, viewed 11 October 2010.

Lafley, AG & Charan, R 2008, The Game Changer: How Every Leader Can Drive Everyday Innovation, Profile Books Ltd, London, England.

Liddell-Hart, BH 1954, Strategy, Faber & Faber Ltd, London, England.

Lindgren, M 2009, Scenario Planning – Revised and Updated Edition: The Link Between Future and Strategy, Palgrave Macmillan.

Miller, D 1992, ‘The Icarus Paradox: How Exceptional Companies Bring About Their Downfall’, Business Horizons, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 24–35, viewed 10 October 2010.

Mintzberg, H 1994, The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning, Pearson Education Ltd, Harlow, Essex, England.

Mintzberg, H & Lampel, J 1999, ‘Reflecting on the Strategy Process’, MIT Sloan Management Review, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 21–30, viewed 11 October 2010.

Mintzberg, H, Lampel, J & Ahlstrand, B 2005, Strategy Safari: A Guided Tour Through The Wilds of Strategic Management, Free Press.

Mintzberg, H & Waters, JA 1985, ‘Of Strategies: Deliberate and Emergent’, Strategic Management Journal, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 257–272, viewed 11 October 2010.

Pinchot III, G 2000, Intrapreneuring in Action: A Handbook for Business Innovation, Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Porter, ME 1980, Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, Free Press, New York.

Porter, ME 1985, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Perfromance, Free Press, New York.

Rogers, EM 2003, Diffusion of Innovations [Kindle Edition], 5 edn., Free Press, New York, Amazon Digital Services.

Schein, EH 2004, Organizational Culture and Leadership [Kindle Edition], 3 edn., Jossey-Bass A Wiley Imprint, San Francisco, Amazon Digital Services.

Schumpeter, JA 1943, Capitalism, Socialism & Democracy [Kindle Edition], 6 edn., Taylor & Francis eBooks, London, United Kingdom, Amazon Digital Services.

Schwartz, P 1996, The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World, Currency Doubleday.

Senge, PM 2010, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization [Kindle Edition], Cornerstone Digital, London, Amazon Digital Services.

Skarzynski, P & Gibson, R 2008, Innovation to the Core: A Blueprint for Transforming the Way Your Company Innovates [Kindle Edition], Harvard Business Press, Boston, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

Swingler, J 2010, Lecture 9: Jeff Swingler’s Entrepreneurial and Innovation Experience, HBS689 Managing Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology, 16 October 2010.

Taleb, NN 2008, The Black Swan [Kindle Edition], ePenguin, Amazon Digital Services.

The-Age 2010, ‘We’re thrashing Google, tablet rivals are dead on arrival’: Jobs, viewed 20 October 2010, <http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/were-thrashing-google-tablet-rivals-are-dead-on-arrival-jobs-20101020-16svn.html>.

Tidd, J, Bessant, J & Pavitt, K 2005, Managing Innovation. Integrating technological, market and organisational change [Kindle Edition], 3 edn., Wiley Publishing, Amazon Digital Services.

Tsu, S 2001, The Art of War, Shambhala Publications Inc, Boston.

Tyson, T 1998, Working with Groups, Second edn., Macmillian Education Australia, South Yarra.

von Hippel, E 2005, Democratizing Innovation [Kindle Edition], The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Amazon Digital Services.

Appendix A: Mintzberg’s classification of the 10 schools or Strategy

Mintzberg et al. (2005, p 5) single adjective to capture each view of the strategy process:

  • “The Design School: strategy formation as a process of conception
  • The Planning School: strategy formation as a formal process
  • The Positioning School: strategy formation as an analytical process
  • The Entrepreneurial School: strategy formation as a visionary process
  • The Cognitive School: strategy formation as a mental process
  • The Learning School: strategy formation as an emergent process
  • The Power School: strategy formation as a process of negotiation
  • The Cultural School: strategy formation as a collective process
  • The Environmental School: strategy formation as a reactive process
  • The Configuration School: strategy formation as a process of transformation” (Mintzberg et al. 2005, p 5)

Source: Mintzberg & Lampel (1999)

Conceptual reading experiences from IDEO

Meet Nelson, Coupland, and Alice — the faces of tomorrow’s book. Watch global design and innovation consultancy IDEO’s vision for the future of the book. What new experiences might be created by linking diverse discussions, what additional value could be created by connected readers to one another, and what innovative ways we might use to tell our favorite stories and build community around books?

http://vimeo.com/15142335

http://www.ideo.com/

The tidal wave is gathering momentum!

Following on from my post yesterday about the ability to export your highlights and comments from Amazon Kindle downloaded books to my iPad here is some further information pointing to the future:

http://media.theage.com.au/technology/tech-talk/ipad-replacing-textbooks-1902523.html?from=newsbox

Remember people, before you get on your high horses about the demise of books, I do believe there is a place for books but more importantly this technology is a game changer. It is not because of the people you see in this video but because of the generations who haven’t even considered textbooks (i.e. young children).  They are intuitive and just figure the technology out. My two boys (pre-school age) play games and read on our iPad’s.  They love books but given the choice they would prefer an iPad/tablet PC.

I guess I would be called an innovator/early adopter for my mid 30’s age😉 because I am way ahead of the curve in how I use the technology!  There is hope for us older people yet!

RJS

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.